Han Long Yeoh – Singapore

I feel very grateful to have been given a unique opportunity by Barclays to mentor a group of students from Republic Polytechnic in Singapore.

The “Company Program” is a Junior Achievement program (a non-profit organization) aimed at providing practical and realistic work experiences to young people.  As mentors, our main role is to provide advice and guidance to the students as they work on a project that involves setting up and running a real company.   

The students learn about different functions (Finance, Human Resources, Public relations etc); how to write a business plan; how to develop, market and sell a product and will eventually compete against other teams across Singapore.  For many of the students, the 12 week programme involves many firsts, from conceiving the initial business idea to the final pitch to the panel of judges. 

Memories as a student remain fresh within my mind as I graduated from university not too long ago. While academic institutions are highly successful at instilling a solid grounding of theoretical knowledge, one challenging aspect that I remember facing was when I had to apply what I learnt in school into practice. By sharing our experiences, we hope to give these students a competitive edge.

Naturally the initial sessions were a little uncertain as the students went from breaking the ice to brainstorming and deciding about key issues, such as company name/structure and product.  Despite these uncertainties, I was impressed with the quality of creativity the students exhibited as they contemplated several product ideas. As mentors, we encouraged them to analyze and compare the marketability and scope that their different products could garner to help them make decisions.

As the programme progresses, what I have found truly rewarding and inspiring is being able to witness their achievements as they learn and move towards their end goal. I hope that under our guidance, they will eventually be able to achieve the success they initially set out for!